- The Three Estates: (social division during
Feudalism, roughly equivalent to classes)
- First Estate -- The Church
- Second Estate -- The Nobility
- Third Estate -- The Peasantry
- Estates Satire is a genre of literature which
mocks and critiques the class tensions, the stereotypes, and the abuses that
existed amongst and within the three estates; estates satire is usually
focused mostly on the clergy.
Fabliaux (see the Miller's Tale and the Reeve's
- humorous French genre
- features the peasantry
- features the body and bodily functions-- sex,
defecation, pissing, farting, and eating;
- features coarse language
- features characters who tend to be rebellious
- features tricksters admired for their
cleverness rather than their morals
- What season is described in the opening
passage of The Canterbury Tales? What do people especially want to do when
this season comes, according to the narrator?
- Consider the Miller's Tale as a satire of
- How is Alison (Miller's Tale) described? What
type of imagery is used?
- Does Chaucer seem sympathetic to Alison's
unhappiness with her husband?
- Discuss the three men in the Miller's Tale.
Do any of them seem sympathetic or admirable? what do you make of the
"punishment" each man receives?
- In the Reeve's Tale, does Chaucer seem
sympathetic to the Reeve? Why or why not?
- Discuss the women's attitudes toward the
night's sex romp in the Reeve's Tale.
- Discuss the anti-Semitism that is evident in
the Prioress' Tale.